MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES–With fire season right around the corner, knowing when a fire starts in your area can mean the difference between life and death. Nearly every wildfire fatality occurs within the first hour, yet official notifications are often delayed, sparse, or non-existent. Watch Duty (WD), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, alerts you of nearby wildfires and firefighting efforts in real time when every second counts.
“Having Watch Duty has reduced my stress level greatly. Just seeing how fast the firefighters jump on the wildfires and get them Forward Progress Stopped is very reassuring.”–Jana S.
During any disaster situation, time is of the essence. Watch Duty’s founders have lived through catastrophic wildfires in their communities and realized there had to be a better way to get information like evacuation notices to people when a fire was headed their way.
HOW IT WORKS
- Watch Duty is operated by real people — not machines. We are active and retired wildland firefighters, dispatchers, first responders, and reporters.
- We collaborate in real-time and gather information from official sources and radio communications to distill just the facts.
- If an incident we are monitoring has a threat to life or property, we notify the public via the Watch Duty app.
- Watch Duty sends users “push” notifications about wildfires in their area, giving them much-needed time to ensure the safety of their loved ones, pets, and communities.
WHAT AREAS ARE COVERED
As of May 2, 2023, Watch Duty covers the entire western United States.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- Real-time Wildfire Alerts
- Monitor Wildfires and Prescribed Burns
- Air Quality & Wind Direction
- Track Active Fire Perimeters
- Evacuation Orders & Shelters
- Submit Photos
WHO PROVIDES THE INFORMATION
Our service is powered by real people, including over 70 volunteers – active and retired firefighters, dispatchers, first responders, and reporters (including this reporter) – who diligently monitor radio scanners and collaborate around the clock to bring you up-to-the-minute life-saving information.
Meet part of the Watch Duty Team here.
“As a cofounder of a firewise community, … I get the most up-to-date and fastest information from Watch Duty and I find the updating to be very timely and accurate. I feel like I know almost immediately when there is a fire and that is a HUGE relief to me. ”–Stacey W.
WHERE DO THE UPDATES COME FROM
Watch Duty updates are based on public information sources like official statements, scanner traffic, fixed and aerial photography, and more. When possible, WD will provide a link to the official source of the information. The team takes the trust people put in them very seriously and has a strict code of conduct that governs what kind of information is published and how. Learn more about the Watch Duty code of conduct at watchduty.org/code-of-conduct.
Check out this video that shows a behind-the-scenes view of how the Watch Duty volunteers and reporters monitor and report on the deadly Fairview Fire.
HOW DO I GET WATCH DUTY ON MY PHONE?